ATLANTA — Atlanta philanthropist and businessman Charles “Charlie” Loudermilk Sr. has passed away at the age of 95.
Loudermilk was a prominent businessman in the 1950s and the decades that followed. He founded Aaron Rents Inc. in Buckhead in 1955, "with just a $500 loan and a plan to lease furniture and appliances to the masses," 11Alive's partner The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in a 2020 article. He built his business into a $3 billion rent-to-own company, now known as Aaron's Inc, the Atlanta Business Chronicle said.
"Loudermilk supplied tents to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where former U.S. ambassador, Atlanta mayor and civil rights icon Andrew Young was serving as executive director," the same article said.
In a tweet, Gov. Brian Kemp said, "few men have contributed so much to the development of our state and capital city, especially the Buckhead community that he loved so much."
Kemp added Loudermilk's influence in the community helped form the Buckhead Coalition, civic groups, and charities throughout the southeast.
"Though we join the Loudermilk family in mourning his passing, we are also grateful that his impact on others will continue to be felt not only through his children and grandchildren, but also by looking up at the glistening Buckhead skyline," Gov. Kemps added.
In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he is "deeply saddened" by Loudermilk's passing.
"Throughout his life, he remained devoted to ensuring Atlanta is a prosperous, unified and forward-thinking community. From his philanthropic efforts to his work integrating marginalized Atlanta businesses into the larger business community, his accomplishments were many and his actions matched his mantra of “work hard, dream big.” My thoughts are with his family and loved ones," Dickens said.
Atlanta City Council added in a statement that Loudermilk loved the City of Atlanta and "always looked to the future of our city and his life was a shining example of philanthropy and hard work. He will forever be remembered as a pillar of the community."
A park that sits between Roswell Road, Peachtree Road and Sardis was renamed in 2009 in his honor, according to the Buckhead Community Improvement District.